Reflections on Spatial Data from the Esri International User Conference
Having just spent a week with over 14,000 people at the annual Esri GIS Education Conference and the Esri International User Conference, it was plainly evident that the themes we examine in The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data book remain at the forefront of the conversations that the GIS community is having. We would also argue that these themes need to be a part of these conversations. First, spatial data is rapidly becoming ubiquitous on just about every electronic device that we use for work and for play. Second, with ArcGIS Online and other tools, we are now firmly in an era where every data consumer is also a data producer. Third, with this avalanche of data and citizen science capabilities comes an increasing responsibility to use and produce data wisely. Lastly and most importantly, as this slide that Esri President Jack Dangermond showed as part of the plenary (videos here) illustrates, we cannot afford to be complacent. The world is changing, and pressing issues of biodiversity, climate, population, food, water, natural hazards, and others need to be solved. We won’t be able to effectively make decisions about these issues and plan for the future unless we understand spatial data.